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Interview: Photographer Paweł Kufel (Poland)

Can you tell us a little about you? I am 27 years old, from Poland - Zdunska Wola, and for more than 5 years I live, work and take photos in Łódź. On an everyday basis I work in a suit shop, but what I do beside this you can see on next pages. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]How and when did you get into photography? It was around 12 years ago I think. My brother got himself one of the newest digital cameras you could get back then. I am not too sure about the make, but I am certain it was something with 3mpx! He used to play around with photos, editing and creating photomontages - that was what initially got me interested in photography. After graduating from high-school, I bought a digital SLR camera, and then decided to sign up for a 2 year photography school. I think it was around 2010-2011 when, in one of those classes, we had to take a picture of a still life using a Mamiya RB67 – this particular event directed me unequivocally to analogue photography. Few months later I got Start 66 from my aunt and in the first half of 2012, I bought a Kiev which I have been using till today. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]What does photography mean to you? To me it means passionate people which I had great pleasure to meet. Creativity, and obviously satisfaction whenever I achieve an intended effect. However it is a great school of modesty and, most of all- patience.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers. It is constantly evolving. Currently, from more sensual photos I am making my way towards eroticism. There are some bondage elements, but since the beginning one thing has not changed - my square-shaped frames with swirly bokeh that are about a woman. Even if she is pictured restrained being submissive, I want the viewer to remember that it is not a weak gender.

Ladies, hands down you are full of strength and confident in life choices - I do adore that!

Where do you get inspiration from?

I am not sure if I have any sources of inspiration right now. A person appears followed by some idea and we do our thing ☺ But I know for sure what, or who inspired me to undertake nude photography. They were photographers Ruslan Lobanov, Andrzej Fetish Frankowski, Radosław Pujan, and Bartek Ninoveron Brudek, whose works were presented in FOTO periodic, portal and many other sites devoted to photography. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

Studio, on location or both? Taking into consideration that my work consist of nudity and intimacy, personally I feel it is better to picture it in natural habitat, which is home. It could be my place, hers or rented- Airbnb for example. Studio reminds me of fashion, bodyscapes or product/stock photography and however I truly appreciate someone who can take great studio photos, but it doesn’t go along with my style.

Think you in advance what you want in the picture?

Motives as such (like bondage), or props that are going to be placed in frame, are discussed before photoshoot, but it all comes together during session. It really all depends on the location itself. The place where we shoot and the whole atmosphere surrounding given environment, most importantly the so called ‘’chemistry’’ between myself and models. All of this greatly influences my flow and have massive impact on the outcome. Most of the times, what I want to eternalize in picture, is created just seconds or minutes before taking the photo. Snapping the picture is just the very product of so many subtle but dynamically changing things. I really depend on this ‘’heat of the moment’’ influences, very rarely follow any strict plan. Wild, powerful, deep emotions, that is what I am trying to capture.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional? No question here, I am a hobbyist. It gives me great freedom and peace of mind, do not have to act under the pressure. If I had to take photos and worry if next session would be enough to pay for my bills I would hate it. This sort of pressure would probably washed out all joy I take from photography. I wouldn’t like to ever force myself to do pictures. Obviously I do not eliminate the idea, that someday I will be striving to make money on my hobby. Definitely though, not through event/commercial photography, because I do not feel like taking such photos. It also requires buying completely different equipment like digital cameras and suitable lenses etc.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

First two that come to my mind - Outdoor session, firstly I had to borrow my mate’s camera because mine obviously had to fail me in crucial moment. Secondly we planned to take some photos in the water. All well and good but I had to go in, neck deep, and yes, I cannot swim! Everything was going surprisingly well until my foot lost the grip and I almost completely fell in underwater! Lucky me, somehow I did not drown and managed to save my friend’s camera.

Second story, one I will probably never forget happened on my last photoshoot. There was an idea that we will touch the issue of self-mutilation. Girl I was shooting with made few cuts on her thigh and I just started taking photos. I was very anxious about this idea, how am I going to handle the sight of blood? When it actually happened I was stunted how intimate it felt and all those emotions we shared- powerful experience.

My underwater pictures did not really yield anything, all this sacrifice hah. On the other hand, second photoshoot - I am going to develop that film soon, and the effects I will see after publishing this Moddelen Magazine issue. Like i said before, photography teaches you patience :).

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens? I used to have Nikon camera and at the moment I own Canon compact, but I am using it only as a photometer. Both companies are giants, but if I am to choose one of them… I will take my analogue camera Kiev’a 6c. If we talk about lenses, I am using Vega 90 mm f/2,8 which is definitely my favourite at the moment. I think it is good value for money and I am also satisfied with its adaptation to my needs. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine]What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

Due to enormous progress in the technology, there are loads of people offering their photographic services. I think it is important to find your own niche, something that you feel good at, and then try to create your own, unique style.

Myself I love when you see the photo and you can without hesitation tell who shot it- that is what it mean by unique style.

Advice for complete beginners? Go and do your research! Find photos you like, find ones you don’t, find ones you could do better! Does not matter what media you are going to use, collecting magazines, cutouts from paper or albums are as good as vast Internet! All of this to allow you to determine your taste and develop sense of frame and composition.

Great trick would be get small memory card for you camera- 256MB or even smaller - this will hinder your ‘’trigger happy habits’’ and force you to take only about 36 well-thought photos instead of 400 from which maybe one will be acceptable. Also covering your LCD display and using optical viewfinder only, will let you somehow handicap your camera and make it more analog like. This will translate into paying attention to details before pushing snapshot and correcting frame after taking the photo. You should also remember that theoretical knowledge is one thing, but practice makes perfect ☺

What do you think of our new magazine?

I support you 100%! For me it is a great opportunity to reach new areas of viewers in different countries, but also see the works of other artists and get to know their point of view on the basis of their answers. It also applies to models. I hope that you will be working as long as possible and will give a lot of motivation not only to one person!

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